Bump testing portable gas detectors:Why you can't live without it
23 January 2013
Agas monitor is a complex system that includes a sensor surrounded by sensitive electronics, alarms, a battery and a display. When you turn the instrument on, you can easily see that the battery and display are working
In a previous white paper, "Why Bump Testing Saves Lives: New data reveals the correlation between bump test frequency and gas detector failures," Dave Wagner, Director of Product Knowledge at Industrial Scientific, discussed how data collected from more than 27,000 gas detectors shows that three in every 1,000 instruments used on a daily basis are likely to fail a bump test and subsequently fail to respond properly to gas if it is encountered during use. This study was originally conducted in 2009 by Dr. Raghu Arunachalam, Ph.D., who is the Director of Emerging Technologies at Industrial Scientific Corporation. Since then, this likelihood has been confirmed in data collected over a period of eight years from nearly 47,000 gas detectors. As clear as this evidence is, workers still continue to use instruments without bump testing them first. Why? Many organizations find it difficult to bump test detectors as frequently as is needed. Calibration stations and docking systems have made these challenges easy to overcome. They also save the time that it would take for an operator to perform the same function manually.
Another option that has gained momentum in recent years is subscribing to Gas Detection as a Service, in which case bump testing is automated and automatic equipment replacements are provided when necessary. Plus, subscribers have full visibility into their gas detection program.
In any case, portable gas detectors are precise electronic devices that play a critical role in protecting workers. Their ability to do their job properly is not always visually apparent. The only way to be certain that a portable gas detector will respond properly when it encounters a life threatening gas condition is to test it with a known concentration of the target gas before you use it.